, , ,

The name of this blog is Tennis and Trisomy 21. Its focus, through the lens of its writer — me — are those two subjects as well as my daughter, the angel I see every day.

Recently a friend who follows the blog said she wanted to learn more about me. That will happen, but I’m a bit reluctant to make me the main subject. Bits and pieces of Rüdiger will come through. We’ve got at least 11 months ahead of us!

Today I’m going to introduce Ron, an angel who came into my life when I really needed it. I’m certainly not an angel expert, but from what I have learned, angels listen if you are open to believing in and welcoming them.

For those of you who have kept reading, I will state that I pay my bills, work hard at my job, strive to be a responsible husband and father, and watch Rachel Maddow. A good friend of mine once told me that as a Quaker she kept one foot in this world and the other foot somewhere else. We nodded and smiled. We didn’t need to keep going with words.

Another time, I was watching my daughter in Bonn, Germany, where my husband was teaching. Ellen had fallen asleep, so I pulled out a book I had been reading about angels. I was tapped on the shoulder by two friends of my husband. Sheepishly, I covered the book, not wanting to embarrass Ben. They beamed, though, and said, “We knew all along. We’re with you.” Again, we didn’t talk.

It will take a long time for me to understand what I understand. I try not to question everything about life although I’m pretty curious. Sometimes, I just believe.

I’ve always known angels are around me. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve also been pretty open to them. This is just one of many things my poor husband puts up with.

My first few weeks of college were beyond miserable. I was gay, not out, and full of doubt. Everyone seemed a whole lot smarter, better looking, and much, much wiser to the world. I was out of my depth. Naturally, I sought refuge on the tennis court where I met Ron. We spent hours practicing, ate, studied and listened to music together, and joined the tennis team. Had I been more courageous at the time, I would have asked Ron out on a date, but times were different and at that point I sure was. Heck, I was beyond thrilled that this amazing guy asked if I wanted to hit and then hang out afterward.

There is a very happy ending to all this. Years later, I was playing in a gay tournament in New York. At the players’ party, another guy and I kept staring at each other. Finally, I said, “I know you, I must know you.” He nodded. The other tennis players laughed until we realized that we had been college teammates. It wasn’t Ron, but we had practiced many hours together, and he knew Ron well. After we hugged and talked, we discovered that at least six of us on the team were now openly gay. No wonder we all had Chris Evert’s backhand and mannerisms!

I’ve always wanted to thank you properly, Ron. You are the first of many angels to whom I will be forever grateful.